10 Common Aged Care Terms Explained

aged care terms

Making the decision to move into an aged care facility can be daunting in itself. Throw in a plethora of aged care jargon and anyone will feel overwhelmed. We take the guessing work out of your aged care decisions by explaining some common terms that you may come across during your research…

aged care terms
  1. Aged Care Facility

Yesteryear, they used to be called nursing homes or retirement villages. An aged care facility is any house, apartment or premises which is used for the reception, care and treatment of persons who, on account of age, infirmity, chronic ill health or the effects of illness from which they are convalescent, require support and care. Some aged care facilities also provide respite care. Different facilities offer different levels of care and service (explained below), so it is important to be clear about your needs, or the needs of your loved one.

2. Carer

In the context of aged care, a carer is a family member or paid helper who regularly looks after an elderly person. Responsibilities can include (but are not limited to) providing help with getting dressed, washing and eating. Carers also support residents’ emotional wellbeing by providing company.

3. Independent Living

This is an aged care option for residents who are comfortable managing their own daily needs and routines. Independent living is ideal for individuals who can still live independently without nursing or care staff’s assistance, although residents may have access to support if and when required. All of our Nazareth Houses offer independent living to individuals and couples over 55 years of age.

aged care terms

4. Assisted Living

Assisted living describes accommodation designed for seniors in need of minor assistance with daily living activities. At Nazareth Care, residents enjoy an independent lifestyle while still receiving additional support, if needed. The care given includes regular activities, room cleaning, attention to personal hygiene, as well as all meals. Assisted living is a great option for individuals who have difficulty with daily activities at home.

5. Home-based Care

This is defined as the provision of health services – by healthcare practitioners and formal and informal caregivers – in an individual’s own home. 

6. Sub-acute Care

This type of care is usually for individuals who have undergone treatment in hospital due to illness or an operation and who require temporary care to recuperate before returning home or to their usual level of care.

7. Frail Care

Frail care is generally long-term and offers access to support 24 hours a day. The frail care team provides assistance with all daily activities, including personal hygiene, grooming, and nutrition. Resident wellbeing is monitored round the clock by a multidisciplinary team, ensuring residents receive high-quality care adapted to their specific needs. At the frail care stage, a person would require much nursing, and he/she may need help with dressing, washing, toileting, and eating and may or may not be bedridden. 

aged care terms

8. Palliative Care

This type of care is offered when a resident needs focused care on lessening the pain or symptoms of a serious injury or illness which cannot be cured. This is done by making the resident as comfortable as possible, focusing on his/her needs rather than prognosis.

9. Dementia Care

Dementia describes a group of symptoms where a decline in memory, visual perception and ability to focus or reason is severe enough to reduce a person’s ability to perform day-to-day tasks. Thinking skills, behaviour and emotions can also be negatively affected. Dementia care is a specialised form of support for persons who live with this illness. The Villa at Nazareth House Cape Town provides dementia care.

10. Respite Care

Respite care provides a break to the caregiver or family while also providing health services, therapeutic services and social activities for the individual. Whether it’s for just a few hours a week or an extended vacation, seeking respite care can help ease the burden of family caregiving. It is normally planned in advance of admission; however, it may be arranged at short notice in an emergency and if a respite bed is available.

We hope that we have helped you to decipher some rather confusing terminology and that it will make your care journey easier to navigate…

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